DALLAS (FWAA) For their outstanding
individual performances, as well as leading their teams from
their respective positions, Alabama offensive tackle Jonah
Williams and Miami (Fla.) defensive tackle Gerald Willis III
have earned Outland Trophy National Player of the Month honors
for September, as selected by the Football Writers Association
of America and presented by the National Foundation for
Infectious Diseases (NFID).
Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for
Infectious Diseases, is awarded annually to the nation's best
interior lineman. NFIDs involvement with the trophy is intended
to increase awareness about flu prevention. This is the first
season the FWAA has selected national players of the month.
Willis, a 6-4, 300-pound fifth-year senior from New Orleans,
La., has been a steady force on the interior of the Miami
defensive front. He has wrecked havoc on opponents with a
national-best 10.5 tackles for loss and he has had at least three tackles for
loss in three of Miami's first four games including four against LSU
the first time a Miami player
had that many since 2008.
Willis is third on the team in total tackles with 23,
including 13 solo stops. The tackles for loss have cost
opponents 26 yards, and he also has two sacks to go with two
quarterback hurries and one pass breakup. Against North Carolina
last week, Willis hurried a throw that led to an interception by
defensive end Joe Jackson, who returned it 42 yards for a
touchdown, one of three defensive touchdowns for Miami in the
game. The Hurricanes' 12 takeaways are tied for fourth-most in
the nation. Willis had a team-high three TFL's and tied for a
team-high five tackles when Miami held FIU to just 62 yards in
the first three quarters (and 187 total) of its 31-17 win on
Sept. 22. The Hurricanes had 13 tackles for loss and four sacks
Sept. 15 at Toledo, with Willis' part being three TFL's and one
The defensive line play has been a pleasant surprise
for the Hurricanes (4-1) heading into Saturday's rivalry game
against Florida State. Willis and the players who line up on
alongside him end Jon Garvin and tackle Pat Bethel all
made their first career starts in the season-opener against LSU.
After another dominant performance in last week's 47-10 win over
North Carolina, Miami is No. 2 nationally in total defense,
allowing 244.8 yards per game. Due in part to quarterback pressure from its
line, Miami leads the nation giving up only 138.8 passing yards
per game as well as defensive third-down conversion percentage
(17.1 percent) and tackles for loss (12.0).
Williams, a 6-5, 301-pound junior from Folsom, Calif., has
started 34 consecutive games for the defending national champion
Crimson Tide. He has helped Alabama (5-0) post offensive numbers
that are on a record-breaking pace nearing the season's
midpoint. The Tide leads the nation in scoring (54.2 points per
game) and is fifth in total offense (553.2 yards per game).
Alabama has had at least 500 total yards of offense in its five games,
marking the first time the Tide has had a run of five straight
500-yard games in program history. The top-ranked Crimson Tide
has scored 45 or more points in each game, also a program
first, and its 37 touchdowns three have come from its
defense are the most by any team in SEC history through five
Williams and the offensive line have helped sophomore
quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to become the highest-rated passer in
the nation with rating of 238.2. Williams
and the line's protection have allowed Alabama's passing attack
to complete 75 percent of its attempts, and Tagovailoa has
thrown 14 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Traditionally a run-based offense, Alabama is currently 10th in
the nation in passing offense (335.8 yards per game).
The recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy will be announced
during ESPN's The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6,
live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The
official presentation to the winner will be made at the Outland
Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports
Committee on Jan. 9, 2019. Up to seven semifinalists will be
named on Nov. 14 in Omaha and three finalists for the award will
be announced on Nov. 19.
University of Wisconsin All-American Joe Thomas,
the 2006 Outland Trophy winner who retired earlier this year
after a stellar 11-year career with NFL's Cleveland Browns, is
serving as the Outland Trophy #FightFlu ambassador on behalf of
NFID. Thomas has been an avid supporter of annual flu
vaccination and is making media appearances on behalf of the
#FightFlu public awareness campaign to remind everyone 6 months
and older to get an annual flu vaccine.
The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football
award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA
with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland
Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college
football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the
University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up
practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland
believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted
an award to recognize them.
The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College
Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most
prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the
NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to
1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
(NFID) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated
to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes,
prevention and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan.
for more information.
About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of
America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists,
broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college
football. Led by current President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times,
longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran
journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help
college football prosper at all levels. Visit
for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.
Doug Drotman (email@example.com
Steve Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Olson (email@example.com
or 301-656-0003, Ext. 140)
On the web
Outland Trophy presented
by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
high-resolution Outland Trophy logo for editorial use